In order to understand political institutions in South Korea, it is essential for us to look into constitution. The Korean constitution is composed of preamble, 11 chapters and 130 articles. Korean constitution is combination of all the good constitutions, American constitution, Burma constitution, and other constitutions. When Korea was founded in 1948 and our constitutional scholars made the reference of old important constitutions. Therefore, some people call the current Korean Constitution is one of the best constitutions in the world. And one of the key features of the current Korean constitution, you can look into chapter one of the Korean constitution, article 1 defined that the Republic of Korea is a democratic republic by stating that all state authority emanate from the people. That's the most important one. Now the people is the master of the country. Okay, that's the most important one, okay. And obviously a country is composed of three major elements. One is obviously the people, the nationality, territory, and sovereignty, okay? Article 1 really defines sovereignty, article 2 defines people, nationality. And article 3 is about territory. It is somewhat controversial, the article 3 has been somewhat controversial because it defined the Korean peninsula and the Korean, the territory of the Republic of Korea is composed of Korean peninsula and its adjacent islands. The now whole issue is that will include North Korea, too. Then according to article 3 of the constitution, then North Korea is still part of the Republic of Korea. But in reality, that is not the case. North Korea has its own title called the DPRK, Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea, and also DPRK is a member of United Nations. Therefore DPRK is a sovereign nation state. Yet our constitution stipulates that North Korea is part of, DPRK part of Little Korea, particularly in terms of territoriality provision. Article 4 mentions about unification, okay? And it defines that the unification now peaceful unification should be based on the principle of freedom and democracy. That is another ongoing debate. Some people argue that they interpret article 4 in such a way that any kind of unification should be based on liberal democracy, but some other people argue that the freedom and democracy do not necessarily mean avoid democracy. Depending on people's consensus, it can be a social democrat, social democracy, and other form of democracy. But, anyhow, here one important issue is this. Article 3 stipulated North Korea part of, before Korea, yet article 4, that argues that the unification should be achieved peacefully under the principle of freedom and democracy, okay. And that really created some kind of contradiction on how to deal with North Korea. Therefore, some people argued that we should amend the constitution in order to eliminate that kinds of inherent contradiction. And article 8 of the constitution stipulates a multi-party system, okay. But Korean constitution has not been stagnant. It has been subject to changes. Since the introduction of the first constitution in 1948, there have been nine major amendments, okay. First constitution was declared on July 17, 1948, okay, and there was a first amendment on July 7, 1952, second November 29, 1954, third June 15, 1960, okay. And first amendment was done November 29, 1960, fifth, December 26,1962 and sixth, October 21st, 1969, seventh, December 27,1972. There is a so-called the declaration of Yushin regime, okay, is the First Republic, okay. Eighth, October 27th, 1980, and ninth, October 29th, 1987. Altogether, we have nine amendments in the constitution. But if you look at the nature of the amendment, it is very interesting. Founding Constitution in 1948 stipulates presidentialism, indirect election of the president with four-year two-term, okay, and unicameral system, four-year term. Members of National Assembly, their tenure was limited to four-year term, okay. Then first amendment in 1952, President Rhee Syng-man wanted to change the constitution in such a way that there would be a direct election of president. And also he introduced the bicameral system, lower house four-year term, upper house six-year term. Then in 1954 there was a second amendment. But in the second amendment, two-term limit for president was abolished because President Rhee Syng-man wanted to have that more terms, okay. And that was really controversial, because at
that time he used the term "roundup" because members of national assembly were not sufficient to support the amendment for the
abolition of two-term limit. And President Rhee Syng-man used the term, so-called roundup, okay? And then literally, forcefully, passed that amendment. Third term in 1960, okay, that was the founding of the Second Republic, okay? And the Second Republic came to the simple realization that there was abuse of power by present president. Therefore, there was a national consensus that they got to the abolition of the presidential system. Therefore, Second Republic adopted in a parliamentary system and the president was a symbolic figure. And also Second Republic adopted the so-called the bicameral system composed of upper house and lower house. There was another minor amendment in 1960 that was adoption of provision on the punishment of anti-democratic and illicit wealth accumulation crimes because there was student revolution on April 19, 1960, okay. And there was a complete reshuffle of political power from Rhee Syng-man's First Republic to the democratic Second Republic. But there were no legal provisions to punish so-called committed crime against democracy and committed illicit works of accumulation, okay. Therefore, they changed the constitution in such a way that the government can punish those who committed those crimes. 5th amendment, is as you all noted, there was a military coup in May 1961. After the military coup took place, there was a Supreme Revolutionary Council and they introduced the new constitution and that was the beginning of, in fact, the Third Republic, okay. And according to new amendment the constitution adopted the presidentialism and abolished parliamentary system, and also introduced a proportional representation and unicameral system. Then in 1969, there was the 6th amendment of constitution that allowed four-year third-term presidency. If you go back to 1962 constitutional amendment, presidential term was limited to two-term four-year annually, but President Park Sun wanted to change it, he wanted to have one more president. Therefore, the words amendment of constitution in such a way to allow four-year third term in a presidency. But in December 1972, it was very tragic page in history of Korean politics. Park Chung-hee introduced so-called Yushin Constitution that was the beginning of Fourth Republic, okay? And then introduction of Yushin constitution come with very, very regressive nature of Korean politics, okay? In other words, there was no term limit for presidency. Therefore, president could have become life in prison, the president in life, okay. And also election of president was then in direct manner by Choi Kyu-hah. Choi Kyu-hah was electoral college most of which, most of whom were appointed by president himself. Therefore, there was president Park Chung-hee in fact was aiming at presidency in life, okay. And that wasn't really top page of Korean politics. Then, as you all know, in October 1979, President Park was assassinated. There was a transitional uncertainty between 1979 and early 1980. Chun Doo-hwan took over the political power and then he introduced in another constitutional amendment and adopted a new constitution. That was the beginning of the so-called Fifth Republic. According to new constitution, presidential term was a limit of one term, seven year. At the same time, president was supposedly indirectly elected, and also there was a proportional representation. Of course at the time, in the Fourth Republic and Chun Doo-hwan introduced electoral college, and electoral college elected the president in direct manner. Obviously, the electoral college was appointed by the president himself. There was a guaranteed election of a president. Then there was democratic changes in 1987. And after major democratic upheaval in June 1987, finally, Chun Doo-hwan government, Chun Doo-hwan regime, accommodated people's demand and they amended the constitution in October 1987. In accordance with the new constitution, president was to be elected directly by the people and also there was a one-term five-year presidency. And there was an introduction of state audit system, and also provisions and quite extensive local economy. But if you look at both constitutional amendment in South Korea, there's a major debating point. One is a whole amendment or partial amendment. Whenever there was a whole, major amendment, then, that really means that the beginning of new republic. Okay, Second Republic, okay, in 1960. Third Republic in 1962 and starting with 1963. And First Republic, the Yushin regime in 1972. Fifth Republic Chun Doo-hwan's adoption of new constitution. And 1987, constitutional changes and the beginning of the new democratic constitution. That is beginning of so-called, the Sixth Republic. So far we have six republics, meaning six major constitutional amendment. But are the three constitutional amendments, in both the partial now? An amendment regarding presidential term, okay, or the method of electing president. Another big debate in South Korea with regard to constitution is something related to the power arrangement system, okay. Korea used to favor a presidential system. But whenever there was abuse of presidential power, then following the regime, used to favor parliamentary system. But the parliamentary system was eliminated only during the Second Republic. Korea has adopted the presidential system, and we shall discuss later. Right now in South Korea, there is a big debate. Some cities are now calling for the constitutional amendment for the parliamentary system. Some others want to preserve it just to presidential system. Therefore, that issue will continue to be major issue in South Korean politics. And was a debate on presidential term. Okay, there is another big issue, unicameral versus bicameral system. Usually presidential system goes with unicameral system, and parliamentary system goes with bicameral system, okay. But in Korea, usually bicameral system is too much. Unicameral system is better, okay. But still some scholars argue that there got to be check and balance within the national assembly, within the legislative branch. Therefore, the current pattern of unicameral system has many drawbacks, therefore there is ongoing debate.